New legislation to improve the safety of medical transport would be redundant and is not necessary at this time, federal aviation regulators told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation.
Several bills have been introduced in Congress to improve the safety of medical transport, including a bill that would provide states with additional authority to regulate intrastate helicopter medical services.
The Transportation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration appreciate these efforts, said Christa Fornarotto, Transportations acting assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs. However, given the voluntary measures already being implemented by the industry, in addition to rulemaking efforts under way at the FAA to improve safety, regulators believe the issues outlined in these bills are already being addressed, Fornarotto said.
Lawmakers on the panel and other witnesses, however, underscored the recent increase in accidents as a sign that more aggressive actions were needed to improve the safety of medical transport. Gerald Dillingham, director of physical infrastructure issues with the Government Accountability Office, suggested that regulators fully address recent recommendations made by the National Transportation Safety Board, such as requiring emergency medical services operators to develop and implement flight risk evaluation programs and install terrain awareness and warning systems on their aircraft.